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How to determine Amps on an Arc Welder

Posted by Salkeld_Farms (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 28, 05 at 21:10

Title says it all, well mostly.

I have a Arc 180 from Harbor Freight that I picked up for free. I downloaded the instruction manual from the site and have run a few sticks on it and it works fine. Only problem is that it was dropped (my guess is a couple times from looking at the case) and the actual variable gauge you use to determine amperage is all jacked up and doesn't really work.

So, my question is, without harming myself in the process, is there a way to use a multimeter to determine the actual dialed amperage?

Thanks - Craig

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to determine Amps on an Arc Welder

I have the Arc 110 welder.
Looks like it uses the same guage for showing the setting.
Looks like it just like one of the old radio indicators.
Should be easy to take it apart and fix it if it don't work.
If the sticker is gone showing the settings
just take a marker and draw them back on using the chart.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Arc 180

RE: How to determine Amps on an Arc Welder


I'd just do some practice welds with it. Once you get a good weld on say, 1/4 inch stock, mark that as 125 amps and work from there. That will be approximate. Do the same for 1/8 inch steel. That will be about 90-100 amps. If the heat is too light, it won't penetrate and it will be hard to hold an arc. If it's too hot, it will undercut and burn your work.

My mig welder has three rocker switches and a wire feed speed control. No amps indicated, I just set them where I get good welds and remember those settings.

Another point with a stick welder, you need more amps with bigger rod, so keep that in mind. If you use a 1/8 rod on 1/4 inch stock, and it welds good, you will need to increase heat a bit with a 3/16 rod.


RE: How to determine Amps on an Arc Welder

Gooseberry is right. The amp selectors on most stick welders are just to get in the area of amps desired. After that a lot of variables come into play, such as rod dia,rod type(6011,6013,7018),thickness of metal being welded,position(flat,horiz,vertical,or overhead), and how close you hold the arc between rod and metal. It just takes experience to determine where to set the amps.
Hope this helps,

RE: How to determine Amps on an Arc Welder

Measure the output voltage at the various settings and calculate your way backwards.

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